California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Critters in the Garden

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Critters in the Garden

One of the great pleasures in my garden is to observe wildlife. As much as I enjoy the plants, the interactions with the animal kingdom and my garden plants make the wild garden an infinitely more interesting place. This is a lot of fun as long as the creatures don't eat the whole plant. In order to attract a greater diversity of birds, frogs, and insects more habitats and plant species need to be in the garden. I often plant specific plants when I want to attract hummingbirds into my garden.

When you click on one of the two Hummingbird links to the right, you will see a beautiful picture of the bird. If you love Hummingbirds as much as I do, you can find a great picture of Hummingbirds.

Contacts between lawns and shrubbery and the shrubs and trees provide a variety of height and cover. It is in these contact zones where the most wildlife activity occurs.

Having a water feature helps bring in a huge number of different creatures. There were quail throughout our neighborhood but none in our yard until I put in a water feature. Then a small covey of quail took up residence under our berry bushes. That covey now has split into several groups.

I put up bird houses, bat houses and mason bee houses. The first year a few birds tried out the birdhouses. Each year there have been more kinds of birds as well as more of each kind. I have not been tagging them so I don't have any way to really know but I expect that the young are returning as well as their parents. I keep putting up more birdhouses to keep up with the population boom. It is much more fun to watch Violet Green Swallows and our local Titmouse parents eating the mosquitoes than swatting them myself.

I like to put in plants that will attract the local butterflies. A butterfly garden can make for a scene of "floating flowers". Even if some of the plants are bruised a bit in the process.

I am very careful about pesticides. I don't spray at all in my garden. And where they are required I put the poison in bait stations that can keep the toxins away from unintended targets such as kids, dogs, cat, chickens, goats and pigs. I always use the least toxic means available. For the most part waiting a bit will allow nature to solve the problem. The major exceptions for me have been rodents and ants.

One of the greatest indicators of the health of a garden is the spiders. Because they eat other insects the toxins can be concentrated in their bodies. It is said that a messed up spider will make a messy web

Critters in the Garden


Allen's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Blue Heron

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

California Quail

Costa's Hummingbird

Oak Titmouse

Western Bluebird

Yellow Rumped Warbler


Honeybees * Apis mellifera

Mason Bees

Tarantula Hawk

California Gardens Butterfly List

Anicia Checkerspot * Euphydryas anicia

Anise Swallowtail * Papilio zelicaon

California Dogface * Zerene eurydice

California Sister Butterfly * Adelpha bredowii

Cloudless Sulfur Butterfly * Phoebis sennae

Common Buckeye * Junonia coenia

Dwarf Yellow Sulfur * Nathalis iole

Fiery Skipper * Hylephila phyleus

Giant Swallowtail * Papilio cresphontes

Gray Hairstreak * Strymon melinus

Gulf Fritillary * Agraulis vanillae

Lorquin's Admiral * Basilarchia lorquini

Lupine Blue * Plebejus lupini

Marine Blue * Leptotes marina

Monarch Butterfly * Danaus plexippus, (Butterfly, Caterpillar and egg)

Mournful Duskywing * Erynnis tristis

Mourning Cloak * Nymphalis antiopa

Northern White Skipper

Orange Sulphur * Colias eurytheme

Painted Lady * Vanessa cardui

Pale Tiger Swallowtail * Papilio eurymedon

Pipevine Swallowtail * Battus philenor

Red Admiral * Vanessa atlanta

Sara Orangetip * Anthocharis sara

Spring Azure * Celastrina ladon

Variable Checkerspot * Euphydryas chalcidona

Western Tiger Swallowtail * Papilio rutulus


Ornate Tiger Moth * Apantesis ornata

Great Ash Sphinx * Sphinx chersis

White Lined Sphinx Moth * Hyles lineata


Jumping Spider * Salticidae

Lynx Spider * Peucetia viridans

Other Cool Stuff

Asian Ladybug Larvae * Harmonia axyridis

Bluet Damselfly * Enallagma civile

Brown Prionid * Orthosoma brunneum

Convergent Lady Beetle * Hippodamia convergens

Decollate Snail * Rumina decollata

Green Lacewing * Chrysoperla rufilabris

Ornate Checkered Beetle

California Praying Mantis * Stagmomantis californica

Snake Fly

California Gardens Pest Pages

Planaria * Bipalium kewense

Glassy Winged Sharpshooter * Homalodisca vitripennis